For some North Central College students, food at the on-campus dining hall is a bit stale. However, the menu is going to get a fresh makeover for the coming school year.
Over the summer, the school began harvesting from a community garden located on the campus. Now, the veggies are on their way into Kaufman dining hall.
“We got community and staff to actually come in and pick the vegetables, and then we serve them in Kaufman,” said North Central College Campus Gardener Kris Bagamery-Warren. “The students get the benefits of the garden here on campus.”
The garden will also help reduce transportation costs and emissions and is just one of many different “green” projects to help the school’s sustainability, like the Res/Rec Center, which opened last year, and uses geothermal energy for heating.
Kaufman Dining Hall has also gone tray-less, saving an estimated 180,000 gallons of water and around 1,500 pounds of chemicals this past year.
Even the class of 2010 graduated in gowns recycled from plastics.
The gardening program is currently only cultivating from eight different plots, featuring 15 different types of tomatoes, green beans, onions and scallion among other vegetables. But in the future, they hope to grow the program to around 26 plots, opening some up to the neighboring community.
“It’s a great way to know where your product is coming from,” said Bagamery-Warren. “We don’t use any kind of chemicals or pesticides, so we know it’s organic.”
The garden uses collected rainwater to assist in growing the crops. Even vegetables that don’t make the cut help the garden as compost.
Gardens like these are just part of the “locavore” movement, characterized by people who only eat locally grown food. For the college, the benefits are clear.
“Part of the benefit of doing this is that we can grow varieties that Kaufman wouldn’t normally be able to call up their produce supplier to get,” said Bagamery-Warren.
The college hopes students embrace the program. With the new school year getting underway, its impact will be seen soon.
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